Tempers flare after cop fatally shoots armed suspect near Ferguson
Posted: Dec 24, 2014 4:15 PM CDT | Updated: Dec 24, 2014 4:23 PM CDT
St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said the officer was questioning two men - one later identified as 18-year-old Antonio Martin - late Tuesday about a theft at a Berkeley convenience store when Martin pulled a 9mm handgun on the officer.
The officer stumbled backward but fired three shots, one of which struck Martin, Belmar said. No shots came from Martin's loaded gun, the chief said.
Martin died at the scene, though Belmar declined to specify where the fatal bullet hit Martin.
Berkeley is just a short distance from Ferguson, Missouri, where a white police officer fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old, on Aug. 9. Brown's death sparked weeks of sometimes violent demonstrations and a grand jury's decision to not charge Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting has spurred a nationwide movement to protest police brutality.
The 34-year-old, white Berkeley police officer, a six-year veteran of the police force in the 25,000-resident suburb, is on administrative leave pending an investigation, Belmar said. St. Louis County police and the city of Berkeley are investigating, Berkeley Mayor Theodore Hoskins said.
\"He will carry the weight of this for the rest of his life, certainly for the rest of his career,\" Belmar said of the officer whose name was not immediately released. \"There are no winners here.\"
The officer wasn't wearing his body camera, and his police cruiser's dashboard camera was not activated because the car's emergency lights were not on, Belmar said.
Police released surveillance video from the parking lot outside the store. The nearly two-minute clip shows two young men leaving the store as a patrol car rolls up, and the officer gets out and speaks with them. About 90 seconds later, the video appears to show one of the men raising his arm, though what he is holding is difficult to see because they were several feet from the camera. Belmar said it was a 9mm handgun - loaded with one round in the chamber and five more in the magazine.
Police were searching for the other man, who fled on foot.
St. Louis affiliate KMOV-TV says photographers from the station saw police with riot gear and noticed large flashes of lights at the shooting scene after some 300 people arrived at the scene.
Officers from Florissant, Overland, Berkeley, and St. Louis County were called.